SEGA VR mini-documentary video

SEGA VR mini-documentary video

For more info about cancelled Sega VR Games:

What do you think about this unseen game? Give your vote!

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2 thoughts on “SEGA VR mini-documentary video

  1. LiamRproductions

    I’ve found out a little bit more about the enigmatic ‘Outlaw Racing’ now. Would you like me to post a new article? There’s still no media available, sadly, but I have a description of what the game was going to be like.

  2. Mr Ross Sillifant


    Today (8/30/93) I experienced the Sega Genesis VR game. It was in the
    context of a test conducted by Stanford Research Institute (SRI) for
    Sega, regarding players’ reactions to the game: does your vision get
    worse when you play? How long before it gets better? Do you get sick?
    Dizzy? Headaches? That kind of thing.

    Background: I’m a 29-year-old software professional. I don’t work in VR
    or graphics, but I’ve followed VR on and off for the past seven years.
    I’ve seen several VR setups: Virtuality, several different
    demonstrations in 1992 at the Meckler VR conference in San Jose, and
    some others.

    Since I was at SRI, not Sega, I didn’t get to talk to any real Sega
    people. So everything here is either my experience, my conjecture, or
    what I got from the people at SRI, which may be THEIR conjecture, etc.
    They didn’t ask me to sign any kind of nondisclosure, which sort of
    surprised me.


    First, the HMD. I won’t say too much about the parts of the setup which
    were specific to the prototype I was using. The HMD was a prototype,
    not the molded plastic model seen on the cover of Popular Science. I
    will say that it was front-heavy, which was a serious detraction: it
    made me want to play the game by staring straight down at the floor, so
    the center of gravity of the device went through the center of gravity
    of my head.

    The device has two backlit, color LCD displays. The optics in the
    prototype were glass, but the real thing will use plastic lenses. The
    backlight was fluorescent, but the real thing might use incandescents.
    This may help the weight distribution.

    I didn’t get a good answer on the resolution of the displays, but they
    might be 320×240. The guy did say a pixel covers about 15 minutes of
    arc as it hits your eyes (which is a measure of resolution they use in
    the VR world, I guess). I’ll talk about the quality of the pictures I
    saw later.

    The device I used was built onto the same plastic hat-frame they use in
    welders’ helmets. The adjustments on that were a knob that tightened
    the hat band around my head, and a dots-and-holes adjustment like the
    back of a baseball cap, only across the top of my head from ear to ear.
    The eyephones let me adjust the interocular distance (between the
    eyes), the distance of the lenses from the eyes, and the angle relative
    to the hat band. I don’t know if the real thing will have all this.

    The head tracking was MUCH more limited than descriptions for the Sega
    VR that I’ve read in the past. There is NO position sensing. The
    tracker ONLY measures yaw and pitch: you can turn your head from left
    to right (through 180 degrees), and you can nod your head up and down
    (through about 45 degrees), and THAT IS ALL IT TRACKS. There is no
    separate piece, like the three-point emitter/sensor for the PowerGlove
    or some VR head trackers.

    There were stereo headphones, too. That’s it for the head: LCD’s, the
    motion tracker, and the headphones.

    There was no TV: you play the game completely in the HMD. The system I
    saw was a standard Sega Genesis, with a prototype game plugged in (a PC
    board with no case, with eight EPROMS in sockets). Connected to this
    was a box that drove the HMD, and another box that received the
    head-tracker signals. I didn’t see how these things were connected to
    each other, but they were all prototypes: PC boards nailed to wooden
    bases, hand-crimped cables, etc.

    The guy said that when you play the game in mono-video mode, you can
    hook the machine up to a TV and your friends can see what you see. In
    stereo mode, your friends see both frames: not very useful unless they
    have synchronized-shutter glasses, which Sega probably doesn’t plan to


    What I played seemed like it was just the game they use to demo & test
    the VR, not the game they’re going to ship with it. It had better be.
    It was like Battle Zone, with more enemies and without the geometric
    pylons. The world is a vast, nearly featureless plain with mountains in
    the distance, always infinitely far away. There’s a radar scope,
    weapons-status views, and your score. The joypad controls your tank:
    forward, reverse, turn left, and turn right.

    The enemy consists of flying things and a ground-based nasty which you
    must kill to move on to the next group. You lock in on a target and
    fire; button B cycles which of the enemies you can see is the one
    you’re locked onto.

    It’s not that good a game, and it definitely doesn’t show off the VR
    very well. When I first put the thing on, it seemed tiny somehow. After
    a while I got used to the scale of things and it wasn’t so bad.

    The ground tended to be a solid color (like red), and on a color LCD
    this emphasizes the pixel size, because you see “RED nogreen noblue RED
    nogreen noblue…” Also, the stereo vision was not helpful. The
    distance effects were never very convincing or useful. The game
    actually comes up in mono mode, and if I weren’t deliberately trying to
    give it a chance, I’d pretty much have left it there.

    But mainly, even though you can turn your head, there’s no reason to!
    It’s always easier to turn the tank. There’s nothing interesting to the
    left or right — just more barren landscape.

    There was even less reason to nod your head. The “neutral” position is
    pretty much the bottom of the tracking arc. You can look up, but
    there’s a lot of latency, and then there’s nothing to see. If an enemy
    flyer is close enough to be off the top of the normal frame, he’s too
    close and moving too fast to follow with your head anyway.

    Speaking of latency: it really wasn’t too bad. It was bad, sure, but
    once you started moving your head it got the idea and tracked pretty
    nicely. Some of the initial delay might have been deliberate software
    “debouncing” so your viewpoint isn’t constantly jittering.

    As for the quality of the graphics: I didn’t really notice the sizes of
    the pixels when I was actually playing. During lulls, I amused myself
    by trying to determine the horizontal resolution by counting pixels
    individually. I could have done it, with enough patience. Things are
    grainy in that color-LCD way; fellow Atari Lynx owners know what I
    mean, and Sega Game Gear is probably the same. Fields of a solid color
    really stand out as dots, as I mentioned earlier.


    I think the system is better than the game I played. The game doesn’t
    show off VR very well. I don’t think I was playing the game they’ll
    ship; at least, not in its final form. I think the $200 HMD is a
    breakthrough for VR. With better software to showcase it, it’ll really
    be a winner.

    I forgot to ask if you can play regular games in the VR helmet. That
    is, if it uses the standard video out from the Genesis, or if there’s
    special information coming from somewhere. If you can play any old
    game, it would save you from being tied to your TV for your regular
    games, and it would

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